Dont know if anyone else was desperate enough to fly today. Stiff WSW winds dying to South by evening. Base 50ft below top of Sartfell.
Wasn’t sure if it may have been too SW for Sl Curn (South side). But nice take off into SW 18mph strangely dying to 10-15mph at 230ft max at cloudbase. Although cloud no problem here as very thin and patchy, unlike at Sartfell where more solid looking. Well stayupable and very pleasant.
Thought that I would fly over onto SW spur to South which would be more into wind. I lost a bit of valuable height getting across but it was soon regained there on one beat (to one third the length of the ridge running into the westerly "Big Bowl"). However on the second beat into the bowl I must have lost my marbles! Flying in nice bouyant lift slightly downwind I got "mesmerized" by this bit of hill in front which faced more into wind thinking that should lift better and flying further along than I intended.
Then I suddenly realised, you IDIOT you shouldn’t be this far along, you are probably in the rotor from the spur of Froghane. TURN NOW!!!
I turned back and immediately felt the rotor kicking hard, I was scared, sinking fast, being chucked around and much too far back in this narrow valley with only very inhospitable landing below.
Not a nice experience, mainly 500ft/min sink, lost 600ft in 2 minutes and at one point vario recorded 1300ft/ min sink (6.6m/s – Bearing in
mind I was below the ridge to start with).
I was lucky to get out, continueing to lose height, (probably exacerbated by flying like a bat out of hell). I was now 400ft below takeoff with no chance of getting back up on Sl Curn. At this point I saw Steven and Peter arrive to see me dashing for the landing field at the Windmill for a safe if unsteady landing among the inquisitive and shitty cows. An interesting 16 minute flight!!
I am obviously getting too confident/complacent aided and abetted by the good performance and handling of the Atos. I need to ease up but will follow the same route again next time in these conditions but without flying so far into the Big Bowl without testing out the rotor in progressively further incremental beats.
It is really only a ratty little WSW ridge, Sartfell is obviously better in SW like today. You may ask why I fly it but its very convenient and easy for my old bones to carry up. I have flown here 30 times now. All good experience.